While Imperial may be the national beer of Costa Rica, microbrews and artisanal beers are on the rise in this tiny Central American country. Over the weekend of October 15th and 16th, Costa Rica held it’s forth annual Oktober Beer Fest. Home to over 40 microbreweries Costa Rica is being the hottest country in Latin America to grab a refreshing unique beer.
Since 2011, microbreweries have been taking over the beer scene with San Jose at the center of this beer movement. The 4th edition of the Oktoberfest featured local and international companies showcasing their unique flavors and offerings. Pablo Formal, coordinator of Oktoberfest is hoping that this year’s event will draw 2,000 more attendees than last year’s event as popularity continues to grow.
Oktoberfest Costa Rica features over 40 microbrewers with over 200 styles of beer. The event took place at Viva Park in Alajuela, a short 20 minute drive from downtown San Jose. The event featured authentic German fare including brezels (Bavarian-style pretzels) and sausages, and live music from national and international musical artists. The event is modeled after Oktoberfest, the largest beer festival in the world that takes place each year in Munich, Bavaria.
The Bavarian event is held for 16-18 days starting in mid-September and running through the first weekend in October with more than 6 million people from around the world attending. The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 and has remained an important part of Bavarian culture. Many cities around the world now hold their own Oktoberfests modeled after this famous event.
While Costa Rica’s Oktoberfest has a long way to go before becoming as popular as the world famous Munich event, the 4th edition in San Jose shows just how popular the microbrewery movement is becoming in Latin America. Costa Rica’s Craft Brewing Co., with their popular Libertas Golden Ale and Segua Red Ale, Bri Bri Springs, with their Watermelon Wheat and Choco Beer, and Domingo 7 with their Buho Amber Bock and special Oktoberfest Beer are just some of the more popular microbrews that are appearing throughout the country. Florida is the main beer distributor for the country and also the company that makes Imperial, Pilsen, and Silver, the top three selling beers of Costa Rica. Recently, Florida has begun to distribute Domingo 7, located in San Jose, showing that microbrews are continuing to grow in popularity and become a major competitor in the country’s beer market.
For those who missed the 4th edition of Costa Rica’s Oktoberfest, San Jose has many bars that feature microbrews year round. Check out Craic Irish Pub, Stiefel Pub or it’s younger off-set Casa Brew Garden for some of the country’s finest microbrews. As microbrews and artisanal beers continue to become more and more popular throughout Costa Rica, the days of Imperial, Pilsen, and Silver may be coming to an end. Be on the lookout for more microbrews to pop up in the next year and for the Oktoberfest 2017.